A Study on Influencers' Role in the Buying-Decision Process Within the Context of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: A Comparison Between USA and Turkey

A Study on Influencers' Role in the Buying-Decision Process Within the Context of Word-of-Mouth Marketing: A Comparison Between USA and Turkey

Tarek Al Medani (Independent Researcher, USA), Ceren Sahin (Independent Researcher, Turkey) and Elif Esiyok (Atilim University, Turkey)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-3201-0.ch009
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Abstract

The aim of this study is to explore influencers' role in buying-decision process within the context of word-of-mouth marketing and how it differs among different countries. Therefore, to make a comparison between the two countries, United States of America and Turkey are chosen. In the study, in-depth interview technique was used to obtain the data. Interviews were conducted with 20 participants who used Instagram and followed at least one influencer. Ten participants were from United States of America and 10 were from Turkey. In total, three themes were identified. Following the analysis, it was found that trust is very important. If the followers did not trust influencers, they would not prefer to buy or try the product that they have suggested.
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Background

Social Media Marketing and Viral Marketing

Social media marketing provides a communication between marketers and consumers. In addition, such marketing is defined as cheap and easily applicable which companies have frequently benefitted (Çinkay, 2017, p.23). According to Weber (2007, p.32), the role of marketing has not changed with social media. Social media marketing also pursues a variety of goals such as determining the target market, communicating with consumers and creating brand loyalty. But the difference is, it has performed such tasks by means of social media tools.

Neti (2011, pp.3-4) points out that, social media marketing is not just news sharing or reading platform, but it also a procedural process and different strategies needs to be used. Meanwhile, social media marketing is regarded as a factor which raises the reputation and brand value of the institution in the platforms where customers could create their own contents. Neti (2011, p.9) also states that, the businesses got the opportunity to easily express themselves and their products/services, to establish relationships with individuals whom they communicate.

Viral marketing is regarded as entertaining or informative contents designed to share with other people on the Internet (Womma, 2005). When considering the modern consumers who are surrounded by communicative technologies, such marketing is natural consequence of developments in communicative technologies (Karabulut, 2016, p.72).

Viral marketing also defined as the adaption of traditional word of mouth marketing context to the Internet (Karanfil, 2019, p.44) which is easy, cheap and fast (Hamed, 2017). In viral marketing, consumers are aware of a product/service in a very short time (Woerndl et al., 2008). De Bruyn and Lillien (2008, p.152) points out two clear differences between viral marketing and word of mouth marketing. The first difference is; viral marketing is performed on the Internet. The second difference is, the messages are sent to people automatically at viral marketing even if s/he does not need anything.

It is believed that the message sent by means of viral marketing should be appealing to consumers so that it spreads as if it were a virus (Godin, 2007, p.20). There exist some factors in order to make this message appealing and be spread among people. The first factor is, the message should exist in consumer’s dream. Meanwhile, the message should be related to a service/product which is easy to use and appealing. The target group of the message should be determined accurately. The message should be related to a reliable source and the devices of this message should be integrated each other (Dobele et al. 2005, p.146).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Influencer: A person on social media who tries to influences the people to specific consumption habits, life-style, etc.

Social media: A media platform where, individuals may create and share a content.

Interaction: A two-way communication, during which two different parties could react with each other.

Word-of-Mouth Communication: Using oral communication in order to pass any type of information from person to person.

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